My mother died when she was 57. In the two decades she's been gone, I've discovered a critical lesson for healing: The more I take steps to actively remember her -- the more I acknowledge what she still means to me -- the happier I am. This is because remembering is essential for healing. Absence and presence can coexist and fully embracing this concept is what gives us the greatest strength to move forward. Especially if you've lost your mom and Mother's Day fills you with unease. There are plenty of uplifting ways to celebrate her memory and doing so can bring you a terrific amount of joy.
Here are four of my favorite Forget-Me-Not ideas for remembering and honoring moms who are no longer with us, taken from my book, Passed and Present:
Repurpose her jewelry. Sure, I wear some of my mother's jewelry as-is, but a few pieces I've refashioned altogether to heighten what they mean to me. For example, for my wedding, I had a long strand of my mother's pearls made into several smaller pieces -- a bracelet for me, and a pair of earrings for each of my bridesmaids and maid of honor. Wearing the bracelet (and seeing my friends and family still wearing their earrings) continues to make me feel close to her.
While the pearls help keep my mother's memory alive, I've realized since getting married that meaningful jewelry doesn't have to be crafted from other jewelry. In the hands of the right artist, virtually any keepsake can be transformed into a necklace, ring, bracelet, or cufflinks. Robert Dancik, an acclaimed jeweler based in Connecticut, creates unique designs out of pieces of the most unusual objects: a book of matches, a word ripped from an old menu, guitar picks, gears from clocks, playing cards, even corks from wine bottles. Consider crafting a piece with Dancik. He does custom work and can be found online at this link.
Keep her words close. Handwritten notes, letters, and greeting cards are wonderful conduits of memory. If you have even a snippet, it's possible to scan a few words and upload the file to a jeweler. Your mother's signature can be engraved onto a charm, which you can wear as a necklace. I'm familiar with the work of Emily Jane Designs, but you can likely find a jeweler near you who does similar pieces.
Use social media. Post a picture of your mom on Mother's Day, along with a short story. By incorporating memories into your digital life, a dual opportunity exists to reflect and receive: You can share memories while simultaneously taking comfort in the stories and support that ricochet back. When I've shared pictures of my mother on Facebook, my friends and family chime in with their recollections. Technology is the low-hanging fruit of memory-keeping. Its power can easily be harnessed to keep your mother's memory alive.
Grow her favorite flowers. Visit your local nursery and buy your mom's favorite herb, plant, or flower. Plant and grow a memory garden (either in the ground or in several pots) to celebrate what she still means to you. Enjoy and take comfort in the smells, colors, and tastes she loved.